Home Books Contact



Since the dawn of the 2000s, La Belle Inutile has taken the risk of not being one of the places where the history of surrealist art is discussed. A strange term to say the least, but an academic discipline that does not lack excellent specialists. It's a profession, a trade - no more vain than many others - but you may also choose not to have any profession at all, to "never have your own hand" (as Rimbaud said). In spite of a proven tenderness for what has been, having little taste neither for deference, nor for celebrations, nor even for celebrities, it immediately seemed incomparably wiser since more foolish to try to contribute to what will be.

Read further

Carpe Diem

Tempus fugit

For more than 300,000 years, the history of the species has only been the adventure authorized by the interplay between the arts, sciences and techniques - and ecology! Nothing very surprising in this, except for those who failed to notice that the living, over the last 4 billion years, will have been considerably more artist, more learned, and more technician than the human species probably will ever be...
Ah! Yes, but that doesn't count because it's unconscious, you might say. An unconscious technology is not really a technology. Words like arts, sciences and technologies may only be used for conscious and therefore human activities. To which the first virus to come silently retorts that consciousness does not intervene the slightest in the good or bad functioning of the technical means that, as a virus, it implements with a success that no human being seems to dispute.

By a characteristic feature of a stubborn and lingering religious mental attitude, the dominant ideas of the time continue to grant a completely disproportionate importance to consciousness and, as unconscious heirs of usual religions, that is of Neolithic religions, persist in denying any existence to the immense treasure of inventiveness, cunning, trickery and slowly accumulated wisdom of a living unconscious almost 4 billion years old. Hence a much wider field than what psychoanalytic therapeutic techniques have ever been able to attempt to grasp.
For the rest, barring divine intervention, whence could well have come those few scraps of consciousness which humans pride themselves on and by the effect of a holy principle deny to other beasts, except out of this immense ocean of unconscious that Life is indeed.

Similarly, to any mind even only slightly concerned with atheism, it should have since long appeared that technology did not fall from the sky but, on the contrary, constitutes an original and central property of the living. By a blindness typical of Realism, which always wants to only believe in things, technology was first perceived as specifically human only because in most cases it is implemented by means external to the body – that is to say via what Bernard Stiegler calls exo-somatic organs – while the technology implemented by living beings is most often based on means internal to the body – hence via intra-somatic organs according to Stiegler's terminology. The case of language is particularly enlightening since it is a technology that relies only on one specific organ, internal to the body, but yet particular to the human species, in the sense that our very close cousins the great apes have no equivalent of it.

So it is ultimately through loyalty to what should be called the spirit of the living that La Belle Inutile has, from the outset, endeavored to investigate, identify, experiment and implement the artistic, scientific and technical means of this time in order to make a surrealist use of them whenever possible.

Read further

The forgotten brass band

La Sérenissime

But it was also necessary to go further and, in line with the requirements of the First Manifesto, it was necessary to understand how, by what meanders, the real functioning of thought could have led us to the current disaster. To understand the slow emergence of unequal societies and the central role once played and still played in it by the imaginary . To understand how commercial exchange profoundly transforms our perceptions and even our understanding of the Real itself. To understand how the creativity of mathematicians designates a type of unconscious that psychoanalytic therapeutic techniques had not identified. To understand how the procedural unconscious silently comes back to haunt our every move for better and for worse. Finally, to understand how Life systematically implements mechanisms based on inner chance and even collage to anticipate and adapt to the upheavals originating in outer chance itself.

Although we may hope for a new quality of lucidity from it, all this will certainly not be enough to get us out of the deadly trap into which capitalism has led us. But perhaps such an attempt at deepening can at least prevent us from unwittingly falling back into the ruts from which we absolutely must get out.

Read something else

La Victoire du Capital

Hommage à Matta


Criticism, said Nietzsche, is a service that we owe to friends. But to friends only, for a little presence of mind suggests that it would be idle, at best useless, at worst disastrous to attempt to ameliorate the enemy. An enemy who only reveals himself as such by the impossibility or the rupture of any dialogue.

So it is probably for the sake of inefficiency that so many people like to spread negative criticisms which only emphasize the misery of the world, and thereby add to it, without indicating at all the means of getting out of it. Negative criticism, which cultivates sad passions, is deceptive and hypocritical in that it suggests the superiority of the person who engages in it, who tries to appear as the holder of the possibility of something better, that he however skilfully dispenses with enounciating.

Positive criticism, on the contrary, more parsimonious and therefore lazier but above all more effective, devotes its efforts to praising what seems to be the best in what each one brings, and keeps a polite silence as to what it might have been reasonable not to add to an already heavily encumbered world. Surreptitiously, and often without even consciousness taking part in it, positive criticism slowly draws the contours of an utopia at work. By designating these small cracks in reality through which the lively and the poetic - that is to say the Real - insinuate and risk themselves, making the new appear within the reified jumble of the old, positive criticism contributes to remedy the weakness of our power of enunciation.



Surrealism and History

And Jean Schuster wandered... There can be no "eternal" surrealism. Everything eternal smacks of repetition or of corpse. Le Quatrième Chant has never been more than the expression of the intellectual bankruptcy of a few Parisians. A text of incredible arrogance, moreover, where, in a strange collapse imagination, the author grew bolder to decree authoritatively and on a world wide scale the end of a movement that had long been established in places other than Paris. According to the combined oracles of Schrödinger's cat and the Cheshire cat, it is almost certain that "Paris will always be Paris", as the converse is almost certain at the same time. But whatever happens, the fact remains that there are few examples of a city wanting to be so unholy.

A Quatrième Chant of very ordinary owners and heirs hence - as if anyone could claim to be the owner or heir of Surrealism. The candidates for the title of André Breton II have not been lacking since, ignorant it seems of this remark by Marx regarding Napoleon III where it turns out that the second time is just a caricature..

No doubt that anyone who will not care about getting involved in such exciting quarrels of inheritance will be blamed. But beyond that, how not to sense, beyond the question "Is this surrealist?" » something like a worry which, deprived of any compass, would then only be more than a matter of style? Subject therefore to a 1928 Treatise. Something like this "L’ai-je bien descendu ?” by Cécile Sorel - minus the humor.

Whatever reference may be made to whatever tradition, the worth of it shall only come from what is made of it. And even if, despite some research and some effort, nothing worthwhile would be achieved, insofar as someone experienced some drunkenness in such research and efforts, he will not care the slightest about the bottle label.

Surrealism only has a meaning to the extents that it remains historical, taking root - or not - in any era that it will be able to make its own, and only insofar as it will put itself in a position to act on it.
But as for that, it is not enough to claim it, it is not given to everyone, it is actually given to no one. But whether or not a little hope is at stake, basically, what else is worth trying? Is there any better use to be made of this time than to stir up the trouble of another order?

Il se fait tard